Sunday, November 8, 2015

Why Pitching Sucks

I've made a full move over to indie publishing.  However, that doesn't mean I'm not still aware of the traditional world.  My email is filled with posts from numerous writing sites, many of which implore me to "hone the elevator pitch" or "prepare a query letter that will grab them."  Sometimes I read these, and sometimes I don't, but they always make me chuckle.

One of the things I despise about traditional publishing is the pitch you have to give someone(usually not even an editor, but rather a literary agent) to try and convince them in 30 seconds why your masterpiece is worth it.  And if you don't grab them in that 30 seconds because you chose to be a writer rather than a motivational speaker, it simply sucks to be you.

I can hold my own when talking to a crowd or a stranger, but not every writer can.  In fact, a lot of writers got into writing as a means to express themselves without having to talk to people on a regular basis.  They're very fluent and can move mountains with the written word, but their verbal communication skills are lacking.

However, that doesn't stop every writers' conference I've ever read about from trumpeting its "pitch slam."  These are basically traditional publishing's answer to speed dating - you spend a couple of minutes with an honest-to-God-literary-agent trying to sell them on your novel.  Fail to get more than a "ho hum," and they'll move on to the next speed dater faster than you can say Hitch.

Yet how does one describe the intricacies of a novel in 30 seconds to a minute?  Yes, you should be able to get a summary, but a summary is just that - a summary.  Do you have any idea how many books I've read the summary on, thought "no way," and then read a page or two and decided to keep going?  That's not to say you shouldn't have a good summary to entice readers, but the book should be so much more.  Conveying the meaning and passion of a book in two minutes is nigh impossible if you want to not sound like a crazy person.

This is another reason why indie is nice - you only have to sell yourself before you publish, and the market will decide if you've got talent rather than somebody who wanted to be a writer but didn't want to go through that nasty writing process.  You can work on your summary and get the opinion of others, deciding whether to use it or not as opposed to being directed to.  And you don't have to talk to people you don't want to.

After all, we're writers, right?

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